Getting round Paris
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Like most French cities, Paris is not a place to visit by car. Parking
can be an expensive nightmare (though less so than London), and the
city has a great public transport network, with a fast underground
network that stretches well into the suburbs.
The public transport system
the underground and overground metro, the RER (express transit metro),
and of course plenty of taxis. Taxis in France are ordinary vehicles
with a taxi sign on the roof, not special vehicles as in London.
Visitors who plan to use lots of public
Paris may find that the best or cheapest solution is to take a
visitor's pass, "Paris Visite", though this is not necessarily the case
(see more details below). The Paris Visite passes are available on a 1,
2, 3 or 5 day basis, and cover all types of official public transport
in the central area or central area and suburbs, depending on the
For more ideas on keeping down
your costs, visit the Budget Paris page.
THE METRO and Buses
If you plan to use the Paris metro or the bus less than six times in a
Car-nay). This is simply ten standard tickets at a reduced rate
11.10 for ten in March 2009). Carnet tickets have no date limit, and
can be shared among members of a group. If you have some left over at
the end of your stay, keep them for next time. They are valid on buses,
the metro and the "RER" within the cental area (zone 1), and on metro and RER
journeys allow as many changes as you want.
Though the Metro is mainly an underground system,
parts of the network are above ground, and offer an interesting way to
see Paris from well above street level.
Neither a standard Paris metro ticket nor a central Paris pass are
valid on the RER for travel into the suburbs,
(zones 2 and upwards) and
notably for travel to Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports.
such destinations, you must buy a specific ticket.
Specific destination tickets and carnets are
all metro stations, and from automatic machines which accept credit
cards. Carnets can also be bought in some main French railway stations
Finding your way in the metro.
This is no problem. Using the maps available,
line number and terminus station of each line you want to take. If you
need to change routes, follow the "Correspondance" signs on the
platform and through the foot tunnels; these indicate the line numbers
and the termini. Just follow the right one. The RATP (Paris transport
authority) provides free maps which are usually available in hotels,
metro stations and other places.
Paris has two
(CDG) to the north and Orly
(ORY) to the south.
If you arrive in Paris by air, use public transport to get into central
Paris; unless you can squeeze five passengers into a taxi, it will
certainly be cheaper.
Charles de Gaulle
(British airlines, US carriers, etc.) Take the airport shuttle to
"railway station". Once you reach the station (5 minutes) buy ticket/s
for central Paris on the "R.E.R." (the express regional network) . Ask
for Paris zone urbaine, pronounced Paree, zone yure baine
See tips and further
(Air France and partners). The train station is in the terminal. Follow
the signs for Gare TGV / Railway station. Once you reach the ticket
office for "RATP" (Paris urban transport network / RER/ Metro) buy
ticket/s for central Paris on the "R.E.R." (the express regional
network) . Ask for Paris zone urbaine, pronounced Paree, zone
the Paris CDG train-station is served by direct TGV high-speed trains
linking directly with most French cities: Lille, Lyon, Marseille,
Besançon, Dijon, Tours etc.... Check times! This is far
taking the RER into Paris, then carting your luggage through to a
mainline train terminus.
Take the "Orlyval" light transit shuttles. These take you directly in 8
minutes to the RER (express suburban train) station at Antony. Here you
connect to RER line B for a direct and rapid train journey into central
Paris. You can also take the Orlybus shuttle direct from the airport,
the bus route terminates at Denfert
metro station in the southern part of central
General Paris transport tips:
TIP - passengers
arriving at Charles de Gaulle:
do not take the slow trains that stop at all or most stations into
central Paris. Check on the departure board over the platform. Slow
trains are slow, and fill up at all the stations in the northern
suburbs - among the less desirable of Paris suburban areas.
wait for a fast train (one out of two for much of the day); you may
wait ten minutes longer, but you'll reach Gare du Nord only about 2
minutes behind the slower train. Fast trains are often non-stop to Gare
du Nord, others have one or two intermediate stops only. Once into
central Paris, fast trains stop at all stations. You will probably need
to change once in central paris; your ticket will take you through to
any central destination.
On your way in to Paris, note the
futuristic "Stade de France" (French national football stadium) on your
right as you pass St. Denis.
If you arrive by air in Paris for a day trip, buy the 1 day "Paris
visite" visitor pass for zones 1-5, which includes the airports. that
way you also have unlimited hop-on hop-off public transport during your
day in Paris
metro hub. Chatelet is the biggest interconnection station on the Paris
metro system: three main RER routes cross here, notably B (for the
airports) and A (serving the Gare de Lyon and Disneyland). If you are
changing from a southbound "B" train to a south/east bound "A" train,
(for instance, coming from Charles de Gaulle airport and heading for
Gare de Lyon or Disneyland, a common combination), just cross the
platform. The same goes if you are taking these routes in the opposite
direction (for example coming from Gare de Lyon and heading for Charles
de Gaulle airport). Nothing could be simpler!
For other changes, follow the indicator boards, having noted
which RER or metro routes you want.
Your ticket. Always keep your ticket until your journey is finished,
even if it is just a single journey ticket. If you use the RER in the
central urban area of Paris (which you can do, of course), you will
need to put your ticket through the machine both to get onto the
platforms and again to get out of the RER area.
passes for Paris
on the main Paris
are several different "passes" available for visitors to Paris, and it
is a good idea not to get the wrong one, as this will mean either
paying too much or else getting less than you bargained for.....
Apart from the potential savings they offer, having a pass
avoiding the ticket queues at the entrance to popular sites.
main passes are:
of the Paris passes include the Eiffel Tower. Tower access must always
be purchased separately, or as part of certain specific tours
but since the Paris Pass includes tour buses anyway, don't buy Paris
tour. To avoid queues, buy Eiffel tower ticket
online. See Eiffel Tower
This is the most comprehensive of the different Paris passes. It gives
free admission to some 60 monuments / museums in and around Paris, plus
free use of public transport (buses and metro) , the Cars Rouge tour
buses, a Seine river cruise, a wine-tasting session, a free Paris guide
lots more. Includes the Louvre, Orsay museum for the
Impressionists, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the
and more - but not the Eiffel Tower.
your pass in advance, and avoid
to get in. The Paris Pass
now offers a refund guarantee insurance, in case you
change your travel plans.
Pass Prices - Adults: 117 € for two days, 173 € for 4 days, 210 € for 6 days. Special rates for teenagers and children.
Exceptional 10% off all
Paris Passes with About-France.com :
USEcode ABOUTFRA before paying. Click for further
information and to book
- giving unlimited use of the metro / RER / bus
network for a given numer of days. Prices
start at €9.75 for a one day adult pass or 15.85
€uros for 2 days
(Summer 2013). Full details in English, plus downloadable Paris Metro
public transport maps from the official
Paris visitor website,
Museum pass - giving unlimited admission to some 60
monuments / museums in and around Paris, excluding the Eiffel Tower. Prices
start at 39
€uros for two days or 54€ for four days.
This pass - best
purchased on the day at the first museum you visit - does not
include any transport, so things like Seine river cruises, metro
tickets and sightseeing tours must be purchased separately. See below
often the easiest
but not necessarily the cheapest ...
hop-off sightseeing bus pass
for les Cars Rouges, open-top guided tour buses linking nine major
sites; a two-day pass costs just 29 €., and can be bought on
An alternative is Cityrama, where a 2-day hop-on hop-off pass costs 34
€, and covers four different routes. Les Cars Rouge are now
"Batobus" and travel on the Seine. The Batobus
are river buses that go up and down the Seine from the Eiffel tower to
the quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame). There are 8 stops in all. A
day pass in 2013 costs 15 €, and a 5-day pass costs 21
€ per adult.
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